What can the Royals expect from Ned Yost?

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Ned Yost.jpgThe Royals’ obsession with former Braves continued when they named Ned Yost to replace Trey Hillman yesterday. Yost was a Braves coach back during the 90s run, and Dayton Moore knows him well.  In that respect this move fits in with other plates of comfort food Moore has ordered like Tony Pena, Jr., Kyle Davies, Horacio Ramirez, Odalis Perez, Bryan Pena.

Of course, contrary to conventional wisdom, those re-acquisitions by Dayton Moore have actually paid off pretty well.  Inspiring moves? Nah. And no, they haven’t resulted in anything spectacular, but they haven’t burnt the team too bad, either because the performance of the acquisition was moderately acceptable or because the cost was not too great.

Which pretty much describes Ned Yost.  Yost was lauded in his early years with the Brewers for creating a good atmosphere for young players. True, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder would have hit under any manager, but a lot of the other guys —  guys like Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy, and Bill Hall — got more or less regular playing time and a stable environment in which to play as they came up.  Yost deserves credit for that, and for smootly transitioning the Brewers from a team of bad old players into an up and coming squad during his tenure.

On the other hand, he appeared to lose the Brewers’ clubhouse as those players got a bit older, and some have questioned whether veterans will listen to him.

Yost also had great difficulty managing the Brewers’ bullpen — especially during the team’s collapse down the stretch in 2007 — and appeared to have some problems with his temper and possibly even his sanity, getting tossed out of three games in a week at one point and engaging in a silly war of beanballs and bad blood with the Cardinals when cooler heads would have let it all go.

But pressure isn’t going to be an immediate problem for the Royals, because they’re not in danger of facing any, at least from a baseball perspective, any time soon.  There are a lot of veterans on this team who may try Yost’s patience — Jose Guillen and Yuniesky Bentancourt spring to mind — but it’s not like anyone not named Grienke, Soria or Butler has a lot of room to make waves. Basically anyone is expendable.

The Royals do have an improving farm system and, if he holds on long enough, Yost might be the man to ease the youngins’ transition into the major leagues.  But like I said this morning, I think Yost is a bridge-the-gap guy, and just don’t think he’s going to last long enough to see that really happen.

Still, he’s a pleasant enough fellow to have around for the time being.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.